A 31-year-old Fijian woman has been arrested and charged by the Fiji Police with serious crimes including human trafficking, as a result of a joint Immigration New Zealand and Fijian Police investigation.
The woman was arrested by Fijian Police in Suva last Thursday and made her first appearance in the Suva Magistrate Court on Saturday.
It's alleged that the woman organised and facilitated the travel and work arrangements for a number of Fijian victims who arrived in NZ and were subsequently heavily exploited.
The thorough joint investigation involving both INZ and Fijian authorities relates to New Zealand’s first successful human trafficking prosecution against Faroz Ali in 2016.
Ali was sentenced at the High Court in Auckland in 2016 to a total of nine years and six months imprisonment after being found guilty of 15 human trafficking and other immigration related offences.
INZ Assistant General Manager Peter Devoy says the joint investigation shows that allegations of people trafficking, migrant exploitation and immigration fraud will be vigorously pursued on or offshore with the cooperation of international authorities.
“New Zealand is committed to eliminating people trafficking and will work closely with offshore authorities when the need arises. The excellent work completed by INZ staff and our Fijian colleagues has allowed for these charges to be brought by the Fiji Police. I hope the victims can take some comfort from this fact."
INZ has a significant amount of work in place to educate and empower migrant workers and their employers to understand and act on their rights and obligations.
Specialist guides for migrant workers and employers have been developed with information on minimum employment rights, health and safety, improving workplace communications and where to go for further settlement support.
People can also contact CrimeStoppers anonymously.